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How Much Does Personalised Email Marketing Matter?

April 26 - 2024

Email Marketing Strategy 5 min read

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If you don’t personalise your email campaigns, you will fall behind your competitors and fail to meet customer expectations. Learn about what email personalisation actually means and some tips for getting started in this article...

 

Why we need to cut through the noise 

In today’s always-online world, audiences are bombarded by marketing messages at almost every turn. From scrolling social media to visiting websites, the modern consumer sees endless advertisements and marketing campaigns. 

Constant exposure has changed the way humans perceive advertising and marketing as a whole. How much of what we are exposed to actually registers in our brains? Because of the relatively short lifespan of digital media, there’s no definitive answer to how this bombardment impacts our behaviour. There are, however, various studies and statistics that are painting a picture:

  • Even back in 2014, a study by Media Dynamics estimated that adults who spent 10 hours engaging with media were exposed to around 362 ads per day but noted only 153—meaning people notice less than half of the ads they see. 
  • In 2016, another study found 40% of Brits ignored brand advertisements they saw on social media.
  • Hootsuite claims a ‘good’ social media engagement rate of 1-5%. Even in the most optimistic case, every 1000 views will translate to fewer than 50 engagements. 
  • In terms of email marketing, the average open rate across all industries is just 39.7% – a clickthrough rate of just 1%. 

The points above are only a tiny snapshot of how users perceive advertising and marketing messaging. But they help demonstrate a fact that is crucial to any email marketing team looking to improve their results: Unless you change your approach now, your emails will likely be ignored.

But, with a slight shift in your approach, you can change the way people perceive your marketing campaigns and dramatically increase audience visibility, engagement and even conversions. 

Say hello to the concept of personalisation.

What is personalisation in email marketing?

Personalisation in marketing means using data to tailor messaging to specific audiences. Depending on the data, this can mean personalising content around habits and interests or more specific messaging based on personal information. 

You need to strike a fine balance between being helpful or too intrusive – much of which comes down to better understanding your audience and improving your attitude to how you collect and utilise data. 

Personalisation is a fairly unique marketing technique in terms of results—it’s one of the few techniques that benefits both the marketer and the recipient. 

  • 71% of consumers expect personalisation from the brands and businesses they interact with. 76% become frustrated when they don’t find it. 
  • Personalisation reduces customer acquisition costs by as much as 50%, lifts total revenue by 5-15% and improves overall efficiency of marketing spend by up to 30%.
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What is the difference between email segmentation and personalisation?

Though there is a difference between segmentation and personalisation, we’d argue that an effective business needs to practice both and consider them fundamentally linked. Email segmentation lays the foundations for better personalisation. 

Segmentation is the practice of dividing your email database into ‘segments’ based on personal information, lifestyle factors, and shopping behaviours. You could, for example, create a segment for users in a specific area or age group. Alternatively, provided you have access to the required data, you could create segments for users who browse or buy particular products/categories on your site. 

Personalisation refers instead to tailoring content around a user’s specific personal details such as their name, product browsing history, purchase history, preference settings etc. 

Implementing effective email marketing personalisation in your team

So we’ve established that users want personalisation from businesses – but what does this actually mean for your email marketing campaigns? Generally, it means having to reassess your attitude toward user data and audience interaction, which you can do by following these steps:

Reassess data collection and split your lists

To really meet user needs, you need to capture more than just personal information about a customer. Review data sources such as:

  • Your email collection fields: Where are they located? Are they effective? What do you ask users to provide? 
  • Website analytics: What kind of user tracking do you have on your site? Browsing habits, time on site, bounce rate etc, are all valuable metrics if you can map them to users. 
  • Goals/triggers: Which triggers are important for your business, and which can be added to personalise campaigns better? More on this in the next section. 
  • Buying habits: One of the best data sources is customer conversions. Using these you can create personalisations based on average order value, average value per visit, favoured products/categories, etc.  

The better your data, the more you can personalise – so it's worth investing in improving data capture and collection upfront. 

Set behavioural triggers

Triggers are moments when a user takes a particular action, such as abandoning a shopping cart on your site. Look at your business and goals for the future, then set triggers for the actions that matter most to you. Outside of ecommerce, for example, you might create a trigger for customers who download a PDF brochure. 

Focus on user value

Most businesses that begin personalising their marketing do so with a focus on improving revenue, forgetting that the main focus must always be on user needs. You must challenge every personalised campaign against how well it meets those needs. 

Implementing user-driven personalisation strategies

User needs differ for every brand. What your users want from your business will depend on who they are and what you do. Ecommerce provides the most obvious needs: 90% of users are happy to share behavioural data for personalisation if it leads to a cheaper or easier buying experience. 

To help frame the best ways to personalise campaigns, we’ve taken a McKinsey study that asked consumers to rank which personalisation elements mattered most to them. We’ve taken the most important personalisation actions for users and condensed them down into the main things marketers can learn from: 

Personalise to simplify navigation either instore or online

Email campaigns can direct users into specific behavioural categories and interests in certain areas of your site or shop. In more advanced cases, campaigns can include a micro-shopping experience that mimics your main site but vastly simplifies options based on user data. 

Provide relevant product/service recommendations and targeted discounts

The obvious answer is to create personalised product/service campaigns based on user data. While effective, you can take this idea much further by including targeted discounts for specific products and categories and create product-specific journeys utilising reviews, video content, storytelling and more. 

Users also love targeted discounts based on behavioural data. Brands like ASOS do this effectively, sharing specific promo codes with users who demonstrate interest in particular products and categories. 

On the other side of this practice, you need to review your existing lists and ensure you don’t send irrelevant content to users who aren’t interested in it – that’s a surefire way to hit the trash. 

Celebrate milestones and tie communications to key moments

Users appreciate brands that can celebrate milestones with them, provided they are relevant. A classic example is to send a personal birthday greeting to customers—though we’d remind you of that earlier stat about 90% of customers sharing data provided it gives them something in return. Birthday emails are better received if they offer product discounts or other incentives. 

Onboarding and post-purchase follow-ups

Users want to feel supported when they commit to a brand. After a first-time purchase, they expect to be onboarded. That means planning an onboarding campaign that reinforces a customer’s decision to buy from you and offers support where required. 

Users also value post-purchase follow-ups outside of onboarding. A common technique is to send an email asking for a user review – but remember that we always need to give a user value, so make it clear that this email is also an opportunity for the user to contact you with questions and have any problems resolved. 

In this same study, one of the lowest priorities around personalisation for consumers was in personally addressing content to them. This really does hammer home the idea that brands can’t just use a customer’s name in a campaign and expect to see benefits – users expect more. 

 

Mature your email personalisation strategy with Jarrang

If you want to know how to find and implement that ‘more’ into your email campaigns, work with Jarrang. We’re specialists in email marketing and can help you mature your data collection and personalisation to send users campaigns they care about. 

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